Monday, April 30, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, April 30, 2012

Outside my window...  I love laundry on the line :D

I am hearing...  silence.  Should I be worried?

I am pondering...  what will it take to get three boys to share a bathroom, and brush their teeth without fighting over whose turn it is to spit?

I am praying...  work for Kerry (sound like a broken record?), Tate's upcoming surgery (he's so calm!), and a good finish for our school year (seven weeks!)

I am thankful...  we had a good (if unexpected) visit from my MIL, Kerry's step-mom.  We rarely see her and she flew into town for a few days.

I am wearing...  crop jeans, white t-shirt, grassy green long-sleeve shirt, socks and slippers.  So fanceeee.

I am creating...  hmmm, debating putting all the sewing stuff away (creating clean surfaces?!) or starting another project.

I am going...  to clean off my desk and pay the bills - the start of a new month, y'know.

I am reading...  with the boys - finishing Little Britches and starting Grandma's Attic, for myself - still chewing through Weapons of Mass Instruction.

I am looking forward to...  tomorrow I'll be able to say, Tate's surgery is this month!

In the learning rooms...  just a couple of ongoing science experiments.  This first one has to do with the desalinization of water (condensing it from the upper bottle into the lower bottle.)  Not a lot of sunshine lately, so this is taking longer than I had hoped, even with our homemade reflectors.

And, in keeping with Gunnar's study of crustaceans, he's raising brine shrimp.  They're kind of tiny.

In the kitchen...  out of fresh stuff again... back to the grocery store.  Dinner?  Chicken and rice.

Around the house...  after an afternoon driving through fields and fields  of tulips...

 (Gorgeous, but too bad the clouds were obscuring the mountains.)

(Yes, for real.)

I needed some at home :D

The Mother Load...  the mail man must think I'm opening a library - all the books I ordered are trickling in :D  Now to sort them and find an organized home for them.  Also, must work with boys on tidying their bathroom and reallocating space, as Tate is going to need more when he gets all his new CI equipment!

Noticing that...  Tate is supposed to do "call outs" for CAP (calling a few of the cadets before the meeting and reminding them of what's going to happen this week).  With his hearing loss, it's really hard for him to hear and understand on the phone and I realize how very little he's ever used the phone.  I think he's kind of self-conscious about it.  When he calls his cadets he wants me sitting Right Next To Him in Perfect and Absolute Silence.  Hope the CI will make this easier, but I think a text phone is in his future.

Something I want to remember for later...  while we were walking through the tulip fields Tate reached over and took my hand.  Not self-conscious about that!  I kind of wonder if he wasn't homeschooled would he be "too cool" for that?  (He's not a little boy!  I don't make him hold my hand.  He was just being sweet.)

Something fun to share...

Tate, flying with CAP.

A favorite quote for today...  Pastor Bert's sermon reminded me of these words from C.S. Lewis,
Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement, he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.

One of my favorite things...  all three boys being productive - one is doing a math test, another is working on his science, and the third is ironing his uniform (serious inspection by real live Air Force officers tomorrow night!)

A devotional thought...  have been mulling over yesterday's sermon.  In my own reading I've been going through The Law (you know, Leviticus) and honestly, it's hard to pay attention sometimes (don't boil a kid in its mother's milk? okay...) but something was niggling at me and Pastor Bert explained it.  You see, in the old covenant, under the law, there were all kinds of sin offerings people had to bring, based on what they'd done.  And it was all for unintentional sin.  But intentional sin?  Defiant sin?  There was no provision for that - no offering that could cover that.  They were to be cut them off from the people and/or executed.  His point was that Jesus came to provide forgiveness for those 'unforgivable' sins.  Amen.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  busy!  Taking Gunnar to the ENT today.  We had his nose cauterized last summer and it helped tremendously, but he's been getting more bloody noses lately and wants it done again.  Taking Tate to Seattle tomorrow for his pre-op, although surgery is four weeks off.  Church skating party tonight, CAP tomorrow night, a PTO day Friday, and a missionary friend staying with us Saturday to Sunday.

A peek into my world... 

The deer haven't gotten these yet ;D  I love forget-me-nots, and these ones are just volunteers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Questions, Answers, and Comments

1.  Felicity asked in a recent comment if we're using Sonlight.  Me ordering sixty books probably tipped her off ;D  Yes, I'm borrowing Sonlight F for Gunnar (can't bear to buy it at this point, with only one boy going to use it) and buying Sonlight G and H to use with Tate and then Gunnar, later.  And I'll probably have Wyatt read some of the books, too. 

Sometimes I feel guilty making a big deal about using Sonlight when I'm not buying the books from them. If I needed all the books, I'd just buy their package and avoid the hassle of buying all those books separately, but... we already have many of the books, and they're the "bigger ticket" items.  Anyway - hurray for Sonlight's history programs.  I really like them, because I really like reading!

2.  I've been thinking a lot about babies and parenting lately.  I mentioned yesterday pondering what it would be like to begin parenting over again, now that I know what I know.

Gee, does that sound a bit arrogant?!  I really didn't mean that I think I know it all!  Just that I would do some things differently.  I hope I have better perspective, these days.  But then, I'm still in the middle of running the race, so these are just a few "mid-course" observations, not a complete list of Grand Final Pronouncements.

* I'm older now, and I'd probably be more patient.  At least, I hope so.

* I wouldn't feel guilty about needing/making time for me to have a break once in awhile.

* I might enjoy some of the hectic stages more, because now I have the perspective that they don't last forever.  On the other hand, when you're in the throes of it, it sure SEEMS like forever, so who knows?

* I wouldn't have as much energy as I did then, and I was already "older" when I had my kids (from 30 - 35), and honestly, I encourage people to marry younger and have children younger, when they DO have the energy.

* I would pay a lot less attention to the freak-out du jour.  Sometimes, there's a lot less there than meets the eye.  (I'm referring to the issues that seem to come up in parenting magazines that get parents all worked up.  Like substituting apple juice for sugar, or whether or not to use a pacifier, or avoiding food dyes, or whatever.)

* I'd (try to) remember that the baby's head isn't going to explode if he cries for a moment or five, (even though mine might feel like it will).

* I wouldn't bother buying nine tenths of the stuff you supposedly "need" for your baby.  Borrow it.  Get it from the thrift store.  I have good friends whose baby slept in a dresser drawer for the first few weeks (or months?).  They were housesitting, in a trailer and didn't have a crib or room for one anyway.  And that girl is a lovely young woman today ;D

I'm sure there are bigger, more important issues, but that's just what was rattling around in my head.

What would you do differently?

3.  Leah, you are on the right track, (red, Christmas, etc.) but I won't have to wait that long to show you... just another month.  Thanks for the compliment :D

4.  Q, you wear sandals all year long?  How do you keep your feet "nice"?  The more I wear sandals or flip-flops, the more my feet get dry and rough, especially my heels.  What do you all do for your feet?

5.  Well, I'm sorry so many other of you have had similar credit card woes.  I guess I'm glad they're watching so closely, but I'm even gladder we don't use the card very often!

6.  Back to school and house-cleaning...  ah, what a glamorous life ;D

Monday, April 23, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, April 23, 2012

Outside my window...  laundry drying on the line (!), the beginnings of new leaves on the dogwood - always later to leaf out than many other trees, and sunshine.

I am hearing...  someone's lawn mower, and several birds - robins, chickadees, and something else.

I am pondering...  decisions to make for next year's schooling.

I am praying...  for Tate's surgery next month and his transition to the CI, for work for Kerry, and a summer job for Wyatt.

I am thankful...  for a fun day with my mom, while all the boys (and men) have gone down to the Science Center.

I am wearing...  capri jeans, t-shirt, sandals.  Sandals, I tell you!

I am creating...  hmmm, plans, I suppose.  Just put the sewing machine away, but I may get it back out.

I am going...  to move the furniture and clean the house.  I've been working out in the yard, weeding the flower beds, and the house has gotten so dusty!  Ack!

I am reading...  Little Britches, with the boys.  Love those Ralph Moody books.

I am learning...  about the vagaries of VISA (see post below).  Grrrr!

I am hoping...  for a good visit with Kerry's step-mom, arriving Wednesday.

In the kitchen...  nothing started, not sure when they'll all be home or how hungry they'll be.  I heard they were stopping at DQ on the way home ;D

In the learning rooms...  eight weeks of school left.  Not that I'm counting, or anything.

Around the house...  the aforementioned dust, and a growing pile of books to be organized.

The Mother Load...  still more weeding to be done, and now planning for a MIL visit, get boys to try on all their clothes and sort/hand-down/decide what is needed, and general cleaning and organizing.

I am wondering...  what it would be like to be starting (over) as a parent, knowing what I know now.

Something I want to remember for later...  the (hilarious) looks of bewilderment on the boys' faces when I woke them (at their request) at 4:30am on Sunday.  And how excited and happy they were about flying.  A CAP pilot flew them down to Chehalis so they could have Glider O-Flights.  They actually got to take control and fly the gliders - with an experienced pilot with them, of course.  Very exciting!

A favorite quote for today...  A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it.  Jerry Seinfeld

One of my favorite things...  sheets, crisp and fresh from the line.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  the boys have had a jam-packed weekend.  They got an unexpected chance to go flying on Saturday, when they were volunteering at the Heritage Flight Museum, then got to fly again on Sunday, and today had a "field trip" to the Pacific Science Center.  They have regular CAP tomorrow, then are staffing a booth at the local high school, to tell students about CAP on Wednesday, and then my MIL is coming for a visit.  Haven't seen her for two or three years (they have an exhausting vacation schedule), and she just called today to see about flying into town on Wednesday and staying through Saturday.  Okay!

A peek into my day...  just a little peek at some things I've been working on...

There's more, but I can't show you the "Big Picture" yet.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Another Brain Dump

Well, it's been an interesting week at La Casa de Mentia.  The kind of week that makes me say Well

1.  Good news - we got our tax return!  For a brief moment, there is money in the bank.  And Kerry, ever the optimist, told me to buy the curriculum we'd been talking about.  Of course, buying it new isn't realistic, but I figured I could save a big chunk by finding most of the books on Amazon. 

2.  So in a fit of enthusiasm I got online with my list and ordered about sixty books.

Well, I tried to.  But I had trouble from the get go.  Amazon's system apparently chokes on orders with that many items, so I had to break it into three orders.  Fine.  Whatever.

Or not fine.  It didn't take long for the phone to ring.  It was VISA, telling me they had a Fraud Alert on my VISA card.  Good grief! A fraud alert?  I don't think I've used that card since our vacation last fall!  A fraud alert?

Oh.  It was me

See, in my mind, I was placing one order with Amazon.  But the books were coming from booksellers all over the country.  When sixty stores all tried to run my VISA in one afternoon... well... everything went boink.  And they locked down my card.

Well.  Did you know that if you run fifteen charges in one day that's what happens?  Neither did I.  But then, I've never run fifteen charges in a day.  And heaven help you if you try to run sixty.  So every day this week I've had to call VISA, work my way through their phone-obstacle-course to get a live person, assure them that everything is okay, reset my card, and then contact Amazon (much easier) and have them run the next set of books through.  And, bless them, they did it.

A word to the wise... spread out your book orders.

3.  Grandpa took the boybarians to the new Cabelas.  And lucky them, because Grandpa is an extra-special Cabelas customer, they got in the day before the store opened and didn't have to camp on the sidewalk the night before, and experience the store with thousands upon thousands of others.

4.  As if to compensate me for my Amazon woes, I hit the jackpot out thrifting this week.  (While the guys cats are away, the mice will play.)  Grandma Grasshopper and I found baby clothes, ten-for-a-dollar.  For real.  I don't usually ever buy the tiny stuff for gifts, but at ten cents?  You betcha.  Most of it didn't look like it had ever been worn.  Still had that crisp, new feel.  Lots of Carters and Gerber.  (And I have two sweet little babies - one born and one coming - to shop for.)  Jackpot!  And Gunnar needed pants.  Got two pair of Land's End khakis for five bucks.

I love days like that.

5.  Is it kind of pathetic that I'm keeping track of everything I've gotten rid of this year?  Yes, I'm keeping a list.  Six more bags went out the door this week.  And I have yet to make the boys do their annual spring try-everything-on exercise.

6.  Be proud of me, I weeded today.  Most of the flower beds around the house.  And oh-my-aching-back.  The boybarians were not here to help, because...

7.  The boys are a little busy, just now.  Today was the day (once a month) they volunteer at the local Heritage Flight Museum, with their CAP group.  It's not required, but they like to do it and go when they can. And - bonus! - they got to go flying again!  They weren't expecting it today, and didn't have their cameras, but FUN! 

They especially didn't expect to fly today, because they're already scheduled to fly tomorrow.  A CAP pilot is taking them and another cadet down to Chehalis for their glider O-Flights.

Excited?  Yah, just a little ;D

But not too excited to go to bed at 8:30, since they're getting up at 4:30.

8.  And guess who's driving them to the airport?



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brain Dump

It's been awhile since I've done this.  A brain dump.  Rather like downloading a few of the thoughts that have been rattling around between my ears.  And I have to tell you right up front, the last few days have been... a little weird.  But then, what else is new? ;D

In fact, I feel like I need to make a few announcements to the unmatched-chromosomes I live with, so here we go.

1.  About paint.  When you're cleaning out the garage and spill paint on a pair of jeans that don't yet have any holes in them, immediate action needs to be taken.  And by immediate action I don't mean wadding them up in a ball and leaving them in the laundry basket.

2.  About spray starch.  Attention zealous iron-ers: I applaud your budding interest in looking neat and tidy for CAP and the effort you're expending to have those crisp creases in your uniforms.  However.  If any more overspray gets on the bathroom floor OSHA isn't going to let me in there to do any more laundry.  That stuff is slick, so watch your aim.

And speaking of the bathroom...

3.  About the toilet.  A clogged toilet overflows on the second flush, so slow down and think before you pull that lever again.  Every day I'm thankful for the wonder of modern plumbing, but boys - it's not magic.  There are limits.  Don't push your luck.

On to other things...

4.  Two of my three boys now wear men's sizes.  That is hard for me to believe, but it's true.

5.  Underwear.  I remember when the boys each potty-trained.  Wouldn't you?  I mean, that's a milestone.  We had a party for each of them (a poopy party) and they got to go to the store and pick out their own underwear.  Because let me tell you, little-boy underwear is pretty cute.  We had tighty-whities with space ships, insects, heavy equipment, and all manner of things on them.  And I thought those days were long gone.  But lo and behold, Fruit of the Loom makes camo underwear.  In men's sizes.  Which was a (small) thrill for one of the young men in this house.

6.  A question.  I have to wonder, what is the purpose of camouflage underwear?  I mean, I understand wearing camo for hunting, or military purposes.  But just what exactly is the scenario that calls for camouflage underwear?  Maybe it's better we don't answer that.

7.  Figgers of speech.  That's what Gunnar calls idioms and expressions.  He's ten - nearly eleven - and has a wonderful vocabulary, but every once in awhile he mispronounces things.  Sometimes it's kind of cute ("What in carnation?") but somehow I doubt the BUDK company appreciates you 'reading' their name as a word, which I don't think it is.  And it catches me off guard when you ask me when that order from buttock is coming.

8.  Morning.  I've been getting up earlier lately.  I used to be the early riser of the family, but Tate - the usurper - has pulled ahead.  (And good for him.  He gets himself up at 6am, reads his Bible, exercises, and studies for CAP, all before breakfast.)  I'm out to reclaim my title (and my quiet time) and have been setting the alarm for 5:45.

9.  More about morning.  However.  There's this thing about morning.  It comes early.  And sometimes I'm not quite awake, even though I'm up.  And let me tell you something else, Freesia scented body splash and leave-in-hair-conditioner come in the same size spritz bottles but have an entirely different effect when you spray them down the inside of your shirt.  And that is all I have to say about getting up early.

Because I really need to go to bed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, April 16, 2012

Outside my window...  dark clouds and rain.  Spring?

I am hearing...  rain gurgling through the gutters and downspouts, the boys stirring (time for breakfast), and the furnace blowing.


Breakfast accomplished, dishes washed, and the boys are in the living room reading, or in the family room practicing guitar before school...

I am praying...  about a curriculum purchase, for friends about to come home from Solomon Islands, for work for Kerry, and peace and goodwill in the house.

I am thankful...  for my family - the ones under this roof and the ones I grew up with, for our wonderful house (perhaps even more thankful lately, as we've been reading about the pioneers and the westward expansion, and the conditions they endured), for health, and for Tate's upcoming surgery.

I am wearing...  jeans, blue t-shirt, blue sweater... *sigh*

I am creating...  I'm in the middle of making some baby gifts, but can't show them yet!

I am going...  to fold laundry (the never-ending task), to buy Tate new "play shoes" as his completely fell apart, and to try to finish the last gift.

I am reading...  with the boys - finished By the Great Horn Spoon and all of us recommend it :D and we're beginning Little Britches which I've read but the boys haven't (GREAT book for inspiring kids, boys especially).  For myself - reading through Weapons of Mass Instruction.

I am learning...  some new ideas for sewing projects - like!

I am hoping...  for some dryer weather to work in the yard, and that the deer will be deterred from eating my plants.  Though I appreciate some of your suggestions (venison!) in this location that would be poaching.  But if the deer could meet with some providential accident, now...

I am thinking...  time to get school going...

In the kitchen...  still enjoying leftover turkey :D

In the learning rooms...  we are counting down - nine more weeks of school.  (Remember, we took three weeks off last fall, for vacation.)  Actually, I don't mind going well into June, as it's usually a very wet month here.  I'd rather have the time off in September.

Around the house...   I'm ready for a change - time to move the furniture again.  Do you do this?  I grew up with that being normal.  The living room gets a fresh look and feel for no cost :D  But other people, like my grandparents, never change things around.  (In fact, they left their furniture in the same place for so many years, that when they died and we bought the house we realized that they had actually painted around some pieces.)  Do you move your furniture or leave things like they are?

Noticing that...  oh my.  It's definitely time to do some rearranging.  Everything is so dusty!  (Easier to clean things when you're pulling it all out and away from the walls.)

Something I want to remember for later...  I made muffins yesterday, which made Tate very happy.  Years ago I found a recipe for Brown Sugar Muffins and thought the boys would love them, so I made a batch using my grandma's old smallish muffin tins.  They came out a nice, golden brown and about as big around as a silver dollar.  I piled them on a plate and waited.

Tate came downstairs in a bad mood.  Grumpy about something I have no recollection of.  Ignoring the wonderful aroma he cast a suspicious eye at my pile of muffins and announced:

I don't know what that is, but you can't make me eat those poo poo balls.

Of course, he loves them.  And begs me to make them.  Even though they do look remarkably like something a horse dropped.

And the boys call them Poo Poo Balls.

A favorite quote for today...
     The Lord replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
          Exodus 33:14 

One of my favorite things...  we all love "pinch bites" (eating the dough/batter before it's baked).  You?  Do you let your kids have pinch bites?  Or are you worried about the raw eggs?  We throw caution to the wind when it comes to pinch bites ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Gunnar has Boys' Club tonight at church, CAP tomorrow for Wyatt and Tate, and that's about all on my agenda besides the ordinary.

On the Mother Load this week...  finishing the other gift (I'll show you later), planting two rose bushes my sister gave us (and trying to protect them from the deer), organizing a couple of trips to gather manure to enrich our dead soil, cleaning out my work space (never ending), and gathering financial information to renew the boys' medical insurance.

A peek into my day...

Gifts from Kerry,don't remember the occasion.  Cute, yah?  (Though not in proportion to each other... a ladybug as big as a chicken might be disturbing!)  Just don't look too closely at the dust!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tate Is My New Hero

We're total amateurs, but we're hoping to put in a garden this year.  In this space.  I know, you probably can't tell the size, but those are rail road ties, along the sides, for reference.  Kerry rototilled it last fall, but this morning it was completely covered with dandelions, chickweed, and who knows what else.

Tate weeded the whole thing in less than two hours.

Now, that boy is not afraid to work hard, but he also uses his head.  Since there's nothing planted yet, he just hauled over the big screen box (for sifting out rocks), set it up on saw horses, shoveled all the weeds in and screened them.  And spread the dirt piles back out.  (The lighter bits are hay, from cleaning out the rabbit hutches.)

Yep.  He's my hero today!

As I went outside to check his work, I startled three obnoxious pests, and had to chase them out of the yard.

I know, I know.  You probably think they're cute, right?

Wrong.  They're pests.  PESTS, I tell you.  And they're insolent.  This doe has led her two yearlings just far enough down the street to smirk at me, from the neighbor's yard.  She'll be back.

Look what she's done, already.  Fortunately, the flowers hadn't budded yet - they still have a chance.

The deer were in the front, about to have a go at my hydrangea.  I haven't seen a bloom on that poor bush since the year I planted it.  But this year is going to be different.  If I can keep myself supplied with Liquid Fence, and we can tolerate the pungent process.  *sigh*

My little flowers are depending on me.  (The deer have missed these, so far.)

And there is plenty of work to be done...

I had potatoes growing here previously, but the creeping buttercups and feverfew are taking over.

And this montbrecia will be beautiful, if I'll just clear out last year's dead leaves (and a bit of garbage the wind blew in.)  And with the sun shining, it's time to get out and do it.

In other good news,  Gunnar and I had a productive trip to the library this morning.

Now that's a happy sight, isn't it?

But wait, there's more.

Grandma Grasshopper dropped by unexpectedly with a gift for me.  Two, actually.  Guess what she picked up at Value Village?

(Picture from last Christmas.)

Four Kosta Boda snowballs - two for each of us.  Thanks, Mom :D

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Some days are just like that.  Not horrible, just blah.  Especially cold, rainy ones. 

Well, at least we had a better morning than yesterday - nobody is writing sentences... yet ;D

To add to the general merriment, Tate had to get a shot this afternoon (required for his CI - he's such a trooper) and I had to call DSHS.  Fun times.  /sarcasm

Because trying to talk to a live person in a government office is like looking for the lost tribes of Israel.  But I persevered...

I dial the 800 number.  I confirm that I do - in fact - speak English (you know, the official language of this country), wade through endless and irrelevant menu options, enter the five-digit extension number printed on the form, and then I wait... wait... wait......  on hold. 

I am subjected to over 16 minutes of anxious-sounding music blaring at high volume into my ear.  The music is interrupted at random intervals by a very soft voice.  I press the phone harder to my ear, to see if I have a real person, but no, it's just a recorded message, suggesting that I give up on waiting for a live person and send them an email.

I'm buying no bridges today.

Finally, a human answers.  I tell her what information I'm seeking, and she tells me I need to talk to someone in the *&(%^ (whatever) office.  She will transfer me, but in case I get disconnected, she gives me the extension number for that office.

It's the same five-digit extension that began the madness.

And so goes the day.

A day in which nothing has gone drastically wrong, but I have felt underwater the whole time.

Is that weird?  Or is it just April, on the tail end of a long, rainy winter?  (I'm not depressed, by the way.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, April 10, 2012

Outside my window...  high clouds, spring flowers starting to bloom, and our neighbors building a "fence" to keep the deer out of their garden.  The fence is only about five feet high, so they're in for an unpleasant surprise.  Good luck with that!

I am hearing...  Tate, weed-whacking, and - when it's quiet - birds singing.  They begin before 5am.  Believe it.

I am thinking...  well, the day was off to a blazing start.  Or, rather, the boys' mouths were.  Does parenting seem to come in waves for any of you, or is it just me?  I mean - yah - we're parenting all the time.  Issues come in waves.  That's what I meant. 

All three boys spent the first part of the morning writing out the following verses:  James 3:5-6, Luke 6:45, and Proverbs 4:23; explaining what they mean, and coming up with a personal plan of action.  Then we were free to start our schoolwork.  *sigh*

I am praying...  for the aforementioned, for work for Kerry, for next year's school materials (partly answered, already!), and for a summer job for Wyatt.

I am thankful...  for a fun family to get together with, for how the boys are thriving in CAP, and for Cadbury Mini-eggs ;D

I am wearing...  old jeans and a blue sweater.  If I have time today I need to start clearing out the flower beds.

I am going...  to finish the quilt I started.  True confession - the piecing is my favorite part.  The actual quilting?  Not so much.

I am reading...  Weapons of Mass Instruction, by John Taylor Gatto, recommended by my friend "Q".  And reading By the Great Horn Spoon, with the boys.  Fun!

I am learning...  more about the Quadratic Formula than I ever remember from my school days.

I am looking forward to...   finishing the quilt, the book, and the school year.

In the kitchen...  the boys go to CAP tonight (right at dinner time) so we've had "our big meal" (as my Nana would have said) at lunch... turkey taquitos - yum.

In the learning rooms...  Wyatt - working out the Quadratic Formula, reading through the Great Depression, getting ready to write a research paper (oh, joy), and learning more about magnetism. 
Tate - simplifying terms (in math), learning about the California Gold Rush, recognizing four complements (no, not "You look lovely today" - that's a compliment), but complements, as in direct object, indirect object, predicate nominative, and predicate adjective), and studying lightning. 
Gunnar - also learning about the Gold Rush, adding and subtracting mixed numbers, making irregular plurals, and wrapping up our study of crustaceans (the brine shrimp are growing).

Around the house...  I broke out all the comic books over our break, and the boys have been spending a lot of time with Calvin and Hobbes, the Far Side, and Jeremy.  If they forget to put them away, I confiscate them.  Three so far...

Noticing that...  pretty sure Tate is now in a growth spurt.  Time to measure the boys again, I think.  He's not quite as tall as me, but he's gaining.

Something I want to remember for later...  last school year (2010-11) and the year before I worked through Draw-Write-Now books with the two younger boys.  You would have thought I was trying to kill Gunnar.  Oh, the anguish!  It's hard being the youngest, when the older boys can do everything better, already.  He was sure he couldn't draw at all.  Now, he's researched on my computer and created a file of pictures of peregrine falcons, because he's drawing one on a huge piece of drafting paper.  His original plan was to paint it, but he's adding a lot of detail in pencil that he may not want to cover up.

No, I don't think he's the next (Norman Rockwell/Leonardo da Vinci/Pablo Picasso... pick one) but it's great to see his skills and his confidence improving :D

One of my favorite things...  did I mention the Cadbury Mini-eggs?  Why, yes, I think I did ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  not much, and that's a good thing.  Hoping for warmer weather, and to work in the yard.

A Bible verse or a quote to think on...
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45

A peek into my day...

Can. Not. Believe.  This boy is nearly 16, now.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Holy Week / Spring Break

... went by way, way too fast.  How is it possibly Monday again, already?  And where did all my free time go?

Okay, we did get a few things done.  Like

* some weeding in the future garden (much left to do)
* the long-neglected-and-nearly-overflowing compost bin has been tended to (hallelujah and amen)
* rocks (that were once the homes of the dinosaurs of Dino-opolis) were moved into a pile
* made a pile for the dump (only a beginning - the tip of the proverbial iceberg)
* made a burn pile (windfall, scrap wood, etc.)
* scoured the stove (how does it get so yucky?)
* cleaned cabinet fronts (ditto)
* cooked a turkey (yum!)
* 'plan maintenance' for finishing this school year (ten more weeks to go, due to our three-week vacation last fall)
* began to plan/dream of next year (so much more fun than finishing this one... *sigh*)
* enjoyed Maundy Thursday Soup and Bread potluck and Lord's Supper at church (but forgot my muffin tin - the perfect "dish" for a soup potluck - like a sampler platter!)
* attended Good Friday Tenebrae service, in which Wyatt was a reader (and remembered to slow down and enunciate, double hallelujah)
* actually made it to Sunrise Service, which was glorious (also very cold)
* and to Easter morning service (though Gunnar missed part and had to go lie down in the car, feeling sick... I think an unusually early morning, begun with a large and delicious cinnamon roll, washed down with two large cups of cocoa may have had something to do with it)
* nearly fell asleep on my parents' couch, after Easter lunch (why not?)
* have begun and not-quite-finished a quilt which I can't show you yet (will be a baby gift...)
* took the boys out for a back-to-school doughnut at 7:30 am this morning (in case they hadn't filled their sugar quota over the weekend)

I look/lurk around the blogosphere at the wonderful thoughts some of you have posted about Easter, and feel quite inadequate. 

Instead, I've given you a list of mostly mundane tasks (moving rocks, house cleaning, etc.)  But we've had a good week.  A good Holy Week.  I've wanted to go to the Sunrise Service for years, but Tate and I are the only dedicated early risers in this house, and it just seemed like pushing a rope uphill, but... this year I pushed, and they all cooperated ;D

So glad we did!

Our friends, the Gibsons, have hosted this for years - they inherited the tradition when they bought their farm over twenty years ago.  From the hill behind their house you can see north into Canada, west to the Puget Sound, and east to Mt. Baker.  And on a beautiful, clear (if cold) morning, like yesterday, the sun coming up over Mt. Baker, turning the fields green and gold, and putting a glow on the blossoming apple and cherry trees will practically take your breath away.  We sat on hay bale "pews", worshiping our risen Lord.  Glorious, indeed.

After church, we went on to my parents', for a family celebration.  Somewhat less conventional...

Gunnar had been lying in wait for Mike (my cousin's husband) to arrive so he could ambush him with his little robot.  Don't know if you can tell - it's holding a (plastic toy) gun.  He was driving it from downstairs - the robot has a camera that feeds to the TV - and had taped on a walkie-talkie, so he could demand Mike's wallet.  Very funny.  Happy Easter, testoster-zone style!

This year we had more hiders than hunters for the candy egg hunt - just Gunnar and his cousin Raelynn.  The bigger kids are aging out.

Still, there was chocolate aplenty for all :D

The kids and the dads retired to the basement for a showing of Cars, also known in dad-speak as naptime.

After which we shooed all the kids back outside into the fresh air.  Tate caught three lizards (it's spring for sure!) and Gunnar was overjoyed to find this little friend in the tree house.

It's a little brown bat, and it IS welcome.  Did you know that not only are bats very clean, they're very hungry.  Each little bat can eat 500-1000 mosquitoes an hour.  May their tribe increase.

And that was our Easter break.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For Tobin

I'm getting the urge to quilt again, and with a week off I may have the time, too.  The desire and the opportunity don't always align, you know?

Then I remembered I hadn't posted this one... had to wait until I gave it to Cutzi, for this little guy - here.  Isn't he cute?  And the HAIR!  Adorable.

Sometimes when I'm planning a quilt I drive myself crazy trying to make everything even.  Balanced.  Perfect?  Well, not perfect, but too perfectionist (about the wrong things).  Anyway, enough self-analysis. 

This time, I challenged myself to make a quilt all from scraps, and I did it!  I even pieced the batting, for heaven's sake.

I've wanted to make a pinwheel quilt, but - though I've practiced - I still can't get all eight points to align together in the middle.  (There's that patience thing again...)  But I've seen this variation floating around the blogosphere, going by different names. 

The one I like is Whirlygiggle.  That suits it, don't you think?  Well, I do anyway.

The only large piece of fabric - ie "non scrap" - I used was this batik for the backing.  I can never get the colors right on the computer, and even if I thought I did, your computer may display them differently.  At any rate, I'll just say that the pink/fuschia on the back doesn't 'read' as vividly in real life.  Not quite so much contrast - it's all very much in the cool spectrum.

Not too impressive as far as difficulty, but a good scrap challenge for me :D

Monday, April 2, 2012

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, April 2, 2012

Outside my window...  would you believe that yesterday - April first  -  I woke up to this, out my window?

No foolin'.
But I had laundry hanging on the line out in the sunshine by two in the afternoon.
Go figure.  Welcome to spring in Washington.

I am hearing... the washing machine :D

I am pondering...  something our choir director said that had never occurred to me before.  The word "comfort" conjures up images like a cozy blanket and a hot cup of cocoa, especially on the cold, rainy days we've been having.  And there's nothing wrong with that - that's a form of comfort.  But the word "comfort" is an adaptation of the Latin - with strength.  God's comfort is mighty!  We went on to sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God to the thundering accompaniment of a pipe organ.  Now that's the kind of comfort that rouses your soul!

And isn't that a handsome young man in the front row?!

I am praying... as usual - work for Kerry, a productive week for me, kindness and compassion for the boys (toward each other).

I am thankful...  for a week off :D

I am wearing...  jeans, navy sweater, wool socks.  My "uniform".

I am creating...  need to think about some baby gifts.

I am going...  to really work the Mother Load this week.

I am reading...  hoping to make time for personal reading this week... I'll let you know ;D

I am learning...  patience (grrrr!)

I am looking forward to...  planning the next school year.  Which is always so much more appealing, right about now, than plodding through the rest of this one.  Ah, the break will be refreshing.

In the kitchen...  seems like a good week for the crock pot :D

In the learning rooms...  we're taking a break this week - this Holy Week.

Around the house...  I'm feeling the urge for spring cleaning - you?

Noticing that...  the boys get along better with some structure in their day.

I am wondering...  why we have to learn patience - why won't God just download it into us?!

Something I want to remember later...  I'm so glad Wyatt decided to join the choir with me, for many reasons.  He's getting good musical training and experience, he's hanging around with adults (and a few other teens) who are having a wholesome good time making music, and the whole purpose is to praise and glorify God.  And he wants to be part of that :D

A favorite quote for today... 

All you really need to know about guidance can be summed up in this one sentence:
God is faithful, so obey Him.
Whether or not that seems likely to work is not your business.  Being faithful to God's revealed will is your business.
     - Iain Duguid

One of my favorite things...  crossing things off my list!

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Wyatt has a bit of school work he need to catch up on, but not much that requires my input.  I'm hoping to clean and purge (the house), get started on planning next year, and do some reading - I have a stack of books waiting.  Of course, we have several activities at church - Maundy Thursday soup and bread dinner with communion, Tenebrae service on Good Friday, and finally the Easter service followed by lunch and the afternoon at my parents with most of the family.  Maybe I'll finally make it to the sunrise service this year... we can hope!

A peek into my day...

With our concerts behind us, I'm happy to have my Monday evenings free again, though the fifteen mile drive to rehearsals had its compensations.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fool's Day

Yes.  I know this is not the official definition of Atheism.  Save your breath. ;D

Psalm 14:1

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."